What does a Wedding Planner actually do?

If you recently got engaged, then the euphoric feeling may well have started to fade and you’re now presented with the daunting task of actually starting to plan a wedding.

Friends and family are likely to be already putting pressure on you (whether they mean to or not) by asking you if you’ve set a date, found your venue, started looking for your wedding dress, thought about your guest list etc. If you have a demanding job and busy social life then it can be extremely hard to find time to dedicate to even thinking about where to start, let alone actually pull everything together.  The reality is that very few couples have the required free time to successfully plan, manage, and execute a wedding effectively, and sadly, many couples don’t realise this until it is too late.

I therefore thought I would share with you over a series of features, an insight into the role of an independent wedding planner and what we do, as there is still a lot of misunderstanding surrounding us.  I aim to provide you with enough information to make an informed decision about whether a wedding planner could be right for you.

Image courtesy of John Nassari

250 hours+ to plan a wedding
Our job as a luxury wedding planner is if I’m honest a difficult one and as we don’t have a physical product to show (until the wedding day itself), it can be hard for a couple to understand our value. If, however you take into account that on average it can take 250 hours+ to design and plan a wedding, coupled with actually managing the event itself (which is often over several days), then hopefully that can provide some context to the time invested from our side.

We work in partnership with you
Our main role first and foremost is to work in alongside you to organise every conceivable aspect of your wedding from start to finish and even beyond.  We take the time to get to know you and ensure you feel in control throughout the process. There maybe some areas you as a couple want to be very hands on with, whereas others less so – either option is absolutely fine.

We are an extension of you
It’s important to stress that as an independent wedding planner, our main focus is you as a couple and achieving exactly what it is that you have in mind. We are on your side right the way through the process and always have your best interests at the heart of everything that we do.

Image courtesy of Pippa Mackenzie

A completely bespoke service
Different planners offer different services or even packages, but at Cranberry Blue we tailor our service to suit your requirements within Full Planning, Partial Planning and Wedding Styling.  Ultimately, our services are there to fit around you and we try to be as flexible as possible.

Handpicked suppliers
Having spent years building our contact book of world class suppliers we can handpick the best providers to suit your style and budget, which saves you the very time-consuming task of having to carry out this research yourselves and hoping they will be as good as they say they are.

In a Nutshell
So, to get to the nitty gritty of what we can actually do for you, the following is a guide to the key areas we can assist with:

Financial planning
Personalised timeline
Marquee design, sourcing and management
Invitations and ‘on the day stationery’
RSVP and guest management
Styling and creation
Set design/prop hire
Lighting, sound, production and set design
Entertainment sourcing and management
Photography and Videography
Hair and make-up styling
Attire & Accessories
Gift registry
Etiquette and tradition
Full event management

Image courtesy of Cranberry Blue

Expenditure planning
This is one of the very first steps in the process and we put together a detailed document which outlines everything that is required to make your day a reality.   This is of course discussed and amended according to your preferences and priorities, but it helps you to stay on track throughout the planning process and notes all payments made and when balances are due etc.

We provide you with a detailed and personalised timeline that carefully outlines the long list of tasks and when each aspect should be looked at, to ensure everything is completed on time.  We guide you through the process, gently reminding you when certain aspects need to be done. This document helps to put your mind at ease so you can enjoy each step of the planning.

Venue sourcing
Finding the perfect venue for your day is absolutely crucial and many couples rush into this. We would always advise hiring your wedding planner first as we have an extensive database of venues to hand select for your perusal.  We then handle the communication with your shortlisted venues by obtaining quotes, arranging visits and then negotiating contracts on your behalf – all of which is very time consuming.

Image courtesy of Mike Garrard

Supplier sourcing
We do the hard work for you to source all elements of your wedding such as: the caterer, photographer, videographer, cake designers, florist, band, DJ, etc.  We work in partnership with some of the best suppliers in the industry and each one will be handpicked to suit your requirements.  To make the process as easy as possible, our suggestions are put together in clear proposals with bespoke quotes so you can easily compare and make an informed decision.

Marquee sourcing and management
Should you require a marquee then we will guide you through the complex task of deciding on the most suitable style of marquee and then suggest the most suitable providers, obtain quotes and manage the negotiation process.  We will advise on the most suitable layout and include all aspects required such as lighting, choice of flooring, linings/walls, catering marquee, tables, chairs, toilets, air conditioning/heating etc.

Image courtesy of Pippa Mackenzie

RSVP Management
This is an area which couples can also underestimate in terms of the time required.  We can take the stress away from you by managing this process for you, meaning another big area can be ticked off your list.

Wedding styling
With the popularity of Pinterest, couples either have a very clear idea about they look they’d like for their wedding, or alternatively actually feel even more confused.  We use our creative know-how and wealth of resources to provide endless ideas to help make your vision a reality.  We suggest colour schemes; table settings, lighting, set design, glassware, linen and furniture, down to the smallest detail, to ensure that every wedding is as unique as our clients.  To help you to visualise these ideas we put together bespoke mood boards to work from.  We can even take this further and create visual representations of each event room so you can have as clear a picture as possible as to how everything will look.

Wedding day/weekend management
We will be one of the first people to arrive and one of the last people to leave and be your main point of contact throughout to give you the reassurance that in the unlikely event of something going wrong, your dedicated Wedding Planner will be there to resolve the problem behind the scenes.  We will also be there for the supporting events either side of the main event.

We will guide you through the complexity of wedding etiquette and tradition; advise on suitable wedding music, attire and the ceremony format.

Post wedding
After the last guest has left the dancefloor and either headed up to bed or to their hotel, we oversee the dismantle of the décor and ensure all required suppliers arrive when they should do and that the venue is put back to how it was originally. We ensure any keepsakes are safely stored away and any hire items such as linen and tableware are in the correct boxes and in the right place to be collected the next morning.  After the dust has truly settled from the wedding weekend then we liaise with the photographer and videographer to manage the next steps of organising the album and films.

Image courtesy of Mike Garrard